“New Year resolutions can be tricky things, “said Dr. Brian Lahmann, bariatric weight loss surgeon at Silver Cross Hospital. “However, they can enhance our lives by changing those things that hurt us, such as being overweight, but also may put undue pressure and stress on us to bring about those changes. Even small changes do not come easy and the resistance one feels to change is normal. So when evaluating those things in your life that you want to change when making your resolutions, be realistic and know what you can change.”
Dr. Lahmann says the new year can be a great starting point. It can also provide a support system with others around you who may be contemplating change as well. He recommends starting off by choosing healthy resolutions such as smoking. The first step to any resolution, especially quitting smoking is to set goals. Write down why you want to quit and if this is an another attempt at quitting, be aware of what made you fail in the past. Openly discuss your plan with everyone letting them be aware of exactly when you are quitting. This will give you not only their support but also the encouragement and understanding of those around you.
If the start of the new year is your quitting date then stick to it. Don’t taper off on the number cigarettes you smoke. Quit entirely. Get rid of cigarettes, ash trays as well as the cigarette smell in both your home and car. Also avoid places that allow smoking and try to stay away from people that do smoke.
For those who wish to make other life changing resolutions, such as cutting back on the amount you eat, set a plan for yourself as well.
“Instead of depriving your body of food and the things you enjoy, divide the amount of serving you would normally take in half,” said Susan Murray, Silver Cross registered dietitian specializing in weight loss surgery. “Try to fill up on healthy fruits and vegetables rather than chips and baked goods which are high in fat and calories.”
Eating a more healthy diet is another great way of not only keeping yourself trim but also fit. Instead of a heaping helping of eggs and sausage for breakfast, start your day off with some fruit in your cereal. Add a glass of orange juice to your routine.
Pack a healthy snack for those mid-day breaks. Instead of heading to the candy machine you will have it handy when hunger strikes.
When shopping, keep health in mind when making your selections. Hit the produce section first and work your way around the snack aisles.
If adding exercise to your life is a resolution, find an exercise that you will enjoy. Nothing will drain the spirit faster than dreading to do something. Finding something you love to do such as walking, running or using a treadmill while watching television, will help you stick to it and with it longer. Find a buddy to exercise with and share the ups and downs and support and encourage each other both emotionally and physically. Work out a program together and share in the progress.
Set realistic goals. “You may not be running the Chicago Marathon next year if you just started running, but there may be a 5K run somewhere down the line that you can handle as you work your way through your exercise program,” said Hans Schulte, exercise specialist with the Weight Loss Surgery Exercise Program at Silver Cross Hospital. “Consider walking a longer distance each week or even each month or adding more repetitions to your program. No matter how small the goal, achieving it creates a sense of success that breeds success.”
New Year resolutions can be helpful parts of our lives. Why not make it a healthy 2011 and change your life for the better this coming year. Start by attending a free weight loss surgery informational session. Programs are held every Wednesday at 5:45 p.m. in the Silver Cross Hospital Specialty Care Pavilion. Click here for more information.